Downton Abbey Lavender Tea Bread

Enjoy Downton Abbey Lavender Tea Bread (tea loaf) recipe for your next “tea,” along wtih pictures and stories from Highclere Castle, Hampshire, England. WATCH THE VIDEO!

Downton Abbey Lavender Tea Bread

Friends, I still have to pinch myself, that I was able to visit Highclere Castle, where Downton Abbey was filmed, and the little town of Bampton, a couple years ago.

Today I’m sharing a delicious Downton Abbey Lavender Tea Bread that I was able to enjoy while I visited the castle. 

What is tea loaf?

I like to think tea loaf is the same as tea bread, but it’s different. They’re both an English cake, but tea loaf is made with fruit and cinnamon, and traditionally served sliced served with butter. Tea bread is actually “tea buns” to be eaten with tea. 

Lavender Tea Bread

Well, today’s recipe is sort of like a cake, but in the shape of a loaf.

Let’s just call it Lavender Tea Bread :)

Downton Abbey Lavender Tea Loaf

A dream come true!

Downton Abbey Lavender Tea Bread - tea

Downton Abbey Lavender Tea Bread

I recommend you use fresh ground lavender for this recipe, but you can always double the amount and used dried (just not as flavorful).

Highclere Castle, Hampshire, England

Friends, let’s talk “estate.” Since 1679, the castle has been home to the Earls of Carnarvon.

Downton Abbey Lavender Tea Bread

Currently Highclere, the centerpiece of Downton Abbey, is home to the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, but did you know there are over 5000 acres? I would have loved to spend time touring the entire estate!

Downton Abbey Lavender Tea Bread

By 2009, the castle was in dire need of major repair, with only the ground and first floors remaining usable. Water damage had caused stonework to crumble and ceilings to collapse; at least 50 rooms were uninhabitable.

Lord and Lady Carnarvon

The 8th Earl and his family were living in a “modest cottage in the grounds”; he said his ancestors were responsible for the castle’s long term problems.” As of 2009, repairs needed for the entire estate were estimated to cost around $12 million, $1.8 million of which was urgently needed for just the castle.

As of late 2012, Lord and Lady Carnarvon have stated that a dramatic increase in the number of paying visitors has allowed them to begin major repairs on both Highclere’s turrets and its interior. The family attributes this increase in interest to the on-site filming of Downton Abbey. The family now live in Highclere during the winter months, but return to their cottage in the summer, when the castle is open to the public. — from Wikipedia

Downton Abbey Lavender Tea Bread

Lady Fiona was so generous with her time, and at tea, she shared the history behind all the portraits that lined the walls, plus what it was like to live in the castle, raise their son, all her charity work, and … a fun tidbit. Did you know that the Downton “kitchen” was off site, on a set in London? The actual Highclere castle kitchen is now modern, remodeled to accomodate events that take place there.

In the dining room are portraits of Carnarvon ancestors who took part in the civil war in England in the 1640’s.

Downton Abbey Lavender Tea Bread

There are over 5,650 books, the earliest dating from the 16th century. The Library is as much used by the family today as in the past, and is a focal meeting point for drinks and conversation, both before and after lunch and dinner.

Either side displays portraits of Carnarvon ancestors who took part in the civil war in England in the 1640’s.

Downton Abbey Lavender Tea Bread

Downton Abbey Lavender Tea Bread

Reflecting on my Highclere visit, I hosted a tea in my home. It was simple, lovely, and I hope you enjoy this Lavender Tea Bread today!

Downton Abbey Lavender Tea Bread - bite

The bread is fabulous, and I’m updating this post with a little advice from a reader, who just made the bread and gave me some sage advice. Less is more (when you use dried lavender).

Use a little over a tablespoon in this recipe, and it comes out perfectly.

Downton Abbey Lavender Tea Bread - tea table

Downton Abbey Dinner Party Menu

Lori, at, has a Downton Abbey dinner party menu if you’re feeling courageous and want to host a party this week. Do it! And come back and let me know how it goes.

Downton Abbey Lavender Tea Bread - sandwiches

Here’s my post with tea sandwich recipes.

And possibly you’ve tried my Pear Potato Soup recipe? I think Mrs. Patmore would approve!

Downton Abbey Lavender Tea Loaf Recipe

I’m a huge Downton Abbey fan … I hated that the show had to end. I think at this point my favorite character is Tom. Possibly because he is an Irishman, and I’m married to the most amazing Irishman, or maybe it has something to do with his virtuousness. Maybe they’ll do a spin-off with Tom … what do you think?

Who is your favorite Downton Abbey character?

Print Recipe
0 from 0 votes

Downton Abbey Lavender Tea Bread

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: downton abbey, downton abbey lavendar bread
Servings: 6


  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lavender finely chopped (or 2 tsp. dried)
  • 6 Tbsp. butter softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup  sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon  water
  • 1/4 teaspoon  vanilla extract


  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  • Combine the milk and lavender in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat to a simmer, then remove from heat, and allow to cool slightly.
  • In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg until the mixture is light and fluffy; add in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture alternately with the milk and lavender until just blended.
  • Pour into the prepared pan.
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes in the preheated oven.
  • To prepare glaze, combine powdered sugar and remaining ingredients. Spread over hot cake. Cool in pan 20 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.


Downton Abbey Lavender Tea Bread Recipe

Highclere Castle photos by

16 comments on “Downton Abbey Lavender Tea Bread”

  1. This recipe sounds so nice for tea! I think I will try a lemon powdered sugar glaze however with the lavender buds. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  2. I made the recipe to use up some lavender left over from lavender shortbread. It was wonderful!
    Just one quibble – Highclere Castle is in Hampshire, not London.

  3. Can I use lavender extract paste instead of fresh or dried lavender? If so, what do you suggest for the amount? Thank you!

  4. Cake was amazing!  I did put a lid on sauce pan so it held in the steam as it cooled!
    Cake was better when it was cooled. The lavender flavor was better

  5. Can I freeze the cake for three weeks, the defrosted completely, then make the glaze? I’m renewing our 41 year vows. The more I can freeze the better.

    • I have never tried this Judith, but I would think it would work just fine. Add the glaze after it’s defrosted. But again, I haven’t done it … to say “it’s fabulous!” I hope it turns out great for you. Happy 41st Anniversary! That is a milestone for sure! xo

  6. What is your experience with how long this bread should be cooked? The first time I cooked it for about 50 minutes and the middle seemed doughy still and not fully cooked. The 2nd time I cooked it for a little over an hour and it seems better but the edges are mosre crispy.

  7. Is there a difference between vanilla and vanilla extract in the ingredients?

  8. Sandy, I found some dried lavender, but is it a different measurement then for the fresh lavender?

  9. Our church is doing a ladies tea in a couple of weeks and I would love to make this.  Where is a good place to find the fresh lavender? Thank you for this recipe! 

  10. I’ve enjoyed many a tea, both cosy and High Tea functions. I love a good tea party. It’s so good for the soul. I’m a Scot, so we always had some versions of a scone at Tea. Everyone has a recipe, and not all were tasty… ha-! I like to CT my sandwiches using a flower cutter. I don’t care for angles. Just a quirk. And I cut all the fruits and vheese. Obviously a small tea. !. I don’t care for Earl grey or the like but prefer organic fruit teas like Celestrial, but always offer the hardier teas in a loose conflagration. Having several electric  hot water kettles help . 

    As to favorite characters.  I adored Matthew and sort of grieved his loss to the show. You are right, Tom has picked up that gauntlet of virtues nicely. We all need that person who is the heart –the soul –the conscience –of the family .. to set the paces, and without it , the family, crumbles because humans are pack animals that discover their personal dynamics early on, and the pack maintains those dynamics always, never allowing varience or it would mean each individual has to change.  Which is why many move away. 

    But Tom holds that group fast. Violet in her old age has come to realize and appreciate that need and has been adding it that bit by bit. Mary is oblivious and it may add to her own dimise emotionally.. she only becomes aware of its need when she thinks of Matthew but she never connects to that need being fulfilled by her. 

    Her sister, is consumed by her own turmoil and also cannot connect to her being part of the solution .without Tom, the family will erode quickly. So far, none of the spouses are picky up the pace either. AUNT is aware, but unable. 

    Downstairs.. it too is unraveling with change. They feel uncertain if their station and security as the Family upstairs is disintegrating as well as society changing and 2 world wars. Living by the land. Living off the land are not as viable for the increased masses. Towns and cities begin to swell with uneducated poor.  For Mr Mosely, Mr Akers the butler, and Daisy –they are seeking a better chance to survive this societal earthquake.  Mrs Patmos and the butter wife team are looking only to their retirement yrs. Anna & husband , the footman,  and such have even less outlook. So we see a slice if society happening on all fronts. Some will exceed, some will succeed, some will survive, and some will fail. We care for each character because we’ve watched them, know their hearts, but in real life where this goes on.. these people slip thru the cracks of charity and perish. I’m glad you chose Tom and look forward to your next post☆☆☆

  11. How fun!! British tea would be a blast and so yummy I’m sure. I’ve never watched Downton Abbey and actually thought it was called DownTOWN Abbey for the longest time :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *